By Mark Whiley
Listen, we know this is the umpteenth election of the last 12 months but for Brits abroad it’s a crucial one. With the Brexit cloud still looming over our heads, before any formal negotiations have taken place, Prime Minister Theresa May is seeking to strengthen her hand.
This election could give Mrs. May and the Conservative Party the majority to push through *any* final Brexit deal with little scrutiny, and for that matter the rest of the Conservative programme without opposition.
On the other hand, it could strengthen the forces of opposition in the face of unpopular agreements.
Here’s 6 things you MUST remember when voting from abroad at this election.
1. Deadline to register is Monday May 22nd
You must register to vote by May 22nd, which is next Monday from the date this blog is posted. This is before registering for a proxy or postal vote. You can do this online at https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.
2. Less than 15 years outside the UK? You’re good to go
The rules may soon change, conveniently after the election, but for the moment you must have lived in the UK in the past 15 years.
3. Proxy over Postal voting
If you can you’d be best to have someone vote in your place (a proxy vote) than sending your postal vote in. With the election being called only 7 weeks before the vote, timescales are tight and there’s little room for error. Proxy votes have to registered specifically for an election, so register using a new form. The deadline for proxy registrations is Wednesday 31st May.
If you have to do a postal vote then you must get your application form in by Tuesday 23rd May. You will then be sent your postal vote and that must arrive at the relevant Electoral Services office of the Local Authority by 10pm on the day of the election.
5. Avoid using Freepost on your forms
There have been problems in past elections using Freepost addresses going through the German Postal Service, with a lack of understanding as to why it’s not been paid for. Pay a little for postage to make sure it gets where it needs to go.
6. Simplify your address
Don’t do what I’ve done in the recent past. Simplify the scharf s to “ss”.
Here’s hoping for the result you want on June 8th – well 9th by the time we find out!